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A lesson on a TED Talk: Procrastination

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I have been procrastinating on writing this blog post for a while, but let’s see what goes on “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”!

It is a great and funny talk and fits pefectly to Unit 1 of Pearson’s Longman Exam Accelerator but it can be used independenttly when discussing ways of how we carry out our tasks – whether we are disorganised, distracted, efficient, perfectionists or procrastinators.

In any case students are supposed to know the word procrastination, and could have a discussion of their own personality type. If done together with the Longman book, the lesson works best following hte reading on page 61 (Things to do).

  1. Pre-watching:

Students match words and definitions:

1.  to bump it up a)   (before nouns) related to a government
2.  civil b)  a student’s main subject at college or university
3.  deadline c)   a piece of writing or a talk on an academic subject
4.  government d)  polite
5.  major e)   a long piece of writing that is the final part of an advanced university degree
6.  a paper f)    a way of working
7.  thesis g)   to increase the speed
8.  whole-nighter h)  a specific time or dateby which you have to do something
9.  work flow i)    a whole night that you spend studying while you are at university

2. While watching:

a) Students watch the talk from 0:00 until 2:45 to raise their interest when they summarize what they have just heard using hte words from the first activity.

b) Students watch and listen from 2:45 until 3:38 and fill in gaps in the text:

No, no, it was very, very bad. Anyway, today I’m a (1)……………………………. guy. I write the blog Wait But Why. And a couple of years ago, I decided to write about (2)……………………… My behaviour has always perplexed the non-procrastinators around me, and I wanted to explain to the non-procrastinators of the world what (3)……………………………… in the heads of procrastinators, and why we are the way we are. Now, I had a (4)…………………………………. that the brains of procrastinators were actually different than the brains of other people. And to test this, I found an MRI lab that actually let me (5)…………………….. both my brain and the brain of a proven non-procrastinator, so I could compare them. I actually brought them here to show you today. I want you to take a look carefully to see if you can notice a (6)……………………………. I know that if you’re not a trained brain expert, it’s not that obvious, but just take a look, OK? So here’s the brain of a non-procrastinator.

c) Students are put into three groups. They watch and listen to the video from 3:39 until 10:00. They have to describe how the mind of a procrastinator works but the students in one of the groups listen to and take notes about the instant gratification monkey, the students in the other one about the rational decision maker and the students in the third gourp about the panic monster. They then regroup to have one student from each group and discuss the roles of each participant in the procrastinator’s mind.

d) Finally students watch the rest of hte video and answer the following questions:

  1. What happened when he wrote about it on his blog?
  2. What jobs does he mention?
  3. What was the general answer?
  4. What is the other type of procrastination?
  5. Why is the second type dangerous?
  6. What did he find out about his audience?
  7. Why does he show the Life Calendar?

3. Post-watching:

The follow-up can be a discussion on how they solve similar problems, or writing an essay on the topic or doing a survey on types among their peers.

Key:

Matching task: 1g; 2d; 3h; 4a; 5b; 6c; 7e; 8i; 9f

Gap-fill:  (1) writer-blogger; (2) procrastination; (3) goes on; (4) hypothesis; (5) scan; (6) difference

Answer the questions: 1. He got thousands of e-mails from different people; 2. nurse, banker, painter, engineer, PhD students; 3. Everybody has the same problem; 4. When there is no deadline; 5. The panic monster doesn’t wake up; 6. That everybody is a procrastinator; 7. To be aware of what we are procrastinating on

 

 

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Mental Health Hotline – vocabulary-building and speaking activity

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Képtalálat a következőre: „mental health hotline”

The lesson was a follow up of Unit 1C in New English File Upper-Intermediate where symptoms, illnesses, treatments are discussed. And although the topic is serious the whole idea of the lesson comes from a funny listening text.

Step 1.: I put „Mental Health Hotline” on the board. The students were put into small groups (3 students in a group) and they had to discuss what „Hotline” means.

Who might call such a hotline?

What kind of problems can be discussed over the phone?

Why is it a good idea to talk to a stranger about mental problems? Is it a good idea at all?

After some time in the little groups, the students presented the groups’ opinions in a plenary.

Step 2.: I put the names of the mental illnesses on cards as well as the definitions of those illnesses. At this point the students were given the cards with the names of illnesses only. The task was to define what the illness on the individual cards means. If they didn’t know the meaning, they tried to guess on the basis of the name.

Step 3.: Now the definitions were given to the groups and they tried to match the names to the definitions.

Step 4.: After checking the previous task, we discussed a little bit about „answering machines”. What happens when you phone an office and there is an answering machine with a menu system and the caller has to decide which menu number to choose to get to the right operator? At this point I revealed to the students that the following text is funny and not really serious, but a bit „wicked”. They immediately knew they didn’t have to take it seriously! J

So they were given a gapped text and the names of the mental illnesses had to be written. That was also done with a lot of discussion.

Finally we listened to the original text.

The follow-up activity was a set of „Doctor, doctor” jokes. They are usually just 2 lines: a question and an answer. There were two groups. Each group got either the first line or the second line of the jokes on slips. One group started by reading out the „Doctor, doctor” line of the joke and the other group had to find the corresponding second line, read it out – thus completing the joke.